TRAVERSE CITY — Last Sunday, surrounded by family and close friends, respected dance teacher Marjorie Randazzo died peacefully in Traverse City.
Born in Saginaw to parents, Lee and Gertrude Backus, Marjorie settled in Ypsilanti, where she established and operated a successful dance studio (Randazzo Dance) for over 60 years. In 1969 Marjorie founded the Ypsilanti Area Dancers with Suzanne Buck, Ruth Deake and Madge Davidson. Marjorie moved to Traverse City in 2002 and continued to teach at Dance Arts Academy.
During World War II after graduating from Ypsilanti High School, where she was a member of the Drum and Bugle Corps, Marjorie toured South America and the Caribbean with the USO. She also had the distinction of dancing in Ziegfeld Follies productions at the Winter Garden in New York when Milton Berle was the Follies leading headliner during 1943 to 1944. Marjorie performed in the show Billion Dollar Baby, danced with Lemanis Tillar Ballet and performed with the San Carlo Opera Company.
At age 12, sponsored by Ann Arbor dance teacher Sylvia Hamer, Marjorie was the first American student to be examined by members of England’s Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. Marjorie’s commitment to the art of classical ballet led to her many years of involvement with the Cecchetti Council of America and the training syllabus developed and promulgated by famed Italian ballet master Enrico Cecchetti. She was a CCA Diploma Fellow, examiner and served for many years as an executive board member.
Marjorie Randazzo’s sense of humor, care and concern for legions of students, compassion, patience and decades of hard work on their behalf is the stuff of legend!
Marjorie’s children, Sara and Tony (Kathleen), grandchildren, Maria and Stella, beloved dogs, George and Effie, and all those touched by Marjorie’s life join together at this time to rejoice for the many wondrous blessings she bestowed on us.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to a charity of your choice in the name of Marjorie Randazzo, 2205 Eastern Avenue, Traverse City, MI 49686.
The family is being served by the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home.